The Dargaville Museum (New Zealand) presents...
'Accordion Gems' by Kevin Friedrich
...A Master Collection of Accordions through Time...

Aratapu Library Purchased - June 2006
Dedication of the Accordion Gems Display - 3 December 2006
Aratapu Library relocated to Harding Park - January 2007
Grand Opening of New Music Wing at the Dargaville Museum - 21 October 2007 at 1:00 PM
Launching of Accordion Gems Exhibit in Display Cabinets - 29 March 2009

Honorees of the Accordion Gems Exhibition
On 3 December 2006, at the conclusion of a concert held in Memory of Mr. Ben Emmett who had passed away 30 years earlier, Kevin dedicated the Accordion Gems display as a long lasting tribute to some of those who have had an extraordinary influence on his musical career and the development of the accordion in New Zealand including the late Ben Emmett, the late Jenny Cocurullo all of Dargaville and the late Mr. Allan Jones of Auckland.
Mr. Benjamin Richard Hornsby Emmett
Mrs. Jenny Maioha Cocurullo
Mr. Allan William Jones

Ben Emmett served as Kevin's accordion teacher in Dargaville where Kevin studied until Ben's untimely passing on December 6, 1976. From the United Kingdom, the Emmett family settled in Dargaville in the late 1950's where they operated a large accordion studio. Both Ben and his wife Doreen Emmett (with whom Kevin began his lessons) taught many people in the Dargaville area over the years. During this time, Ben continually took his students and orchestras out into the community for concerts all over the Kaipara region. Mr. Ben Emmett successfully petitioned New Zealand's acceptance into the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) of which Kevin eventually became the President.

Jenny Cocurullo served as a mentor to Kevin during his career, working to support his concert career and rise to the Presidency of the Confédération Internationale Des Accordéonistes (CIA), the world body of accordionists which is affiliated to the International Music Council and UNESCO. Mrs. Cocurullo worked to promote the accordion and the arts in general in the Kaipara region, giving recognition and support to established international concert artists who performed in Dargaville during New Zealand concert tours, as well as giving younger, up and coming artists the opportunity to gain experience and exposure, thus providing opportunities for all while giving residents of the Kaipara community outstanding cultural opportunities.

After the passing of Mr. Ben Emmett, Kevin began the weekly five-hour round trip journey to Auckland to study with the late Mr. Allan Jones, with whom he studied until he left for the United States to pursue his accordion career overseas. Recognized as one of the great supporters and developers of the accordion movement in New Zealand, Allan Jones worked extremely hard with his students encouraging superior technical ability and correct practice methods. Mr. Allan Jones was surrounded by an accordion family, with his wife Marie serving as the Secretary of the New Zealand Accordion Association, a position that she continues until this day. Their three children Harley, who also taught Kevin during his trips to Auckland; Maurice, a popular entertainer who took over the running of the accordion business; and Heather, a well-known teacher and director of accordion orchestras in Auckland. All have distinguished themselves on the international accordion scene.


Kevin would also like to pay tribute to his three main accordion teachers during his formal music education including Mr. Harley Jones ( New Zealand), Professor Joan C. Sommers (USA) and Professor Max Bonnay (France).
Mr. Harley Jones (New Zealand)
Professor Joan C. Sommers (USA)
Professeur Max Bonnay (France)
Harley Jones has taught many of New Zealand's top accordionists over the years and during more recent times has developed the largest accordion Internet site in the world 'Accordions Worldwide' which encompasses Accordions Worldwide, Search Accordion, the Accordion Yellow Pages, Accordion Links and more recently Music For Accordion. He currently resides in the Cook Islands, where he runs his accordion businesses.

Professor Joan C. Sommers founded the accordion program at the University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory of Music in 1961 and went on to lead the most successful University course in the history of the USA. During this time she not only taught many United States and International Champions, she also led the famed UMKC Accordion Orchestra on numerous tours around the world. Recently retired, she continues to direct the UMKC Accordion Orchestra and travels extensively giving workshops and adjudicating at international accordion festivals around the world.

Professor Max Bonnay, former CIA World Accordion Champion is recognized as one of the leading accordion teachers and performers in the world, giving concerts and master classes around the world. He is currently the Professor of Accordion at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et Danse (CNSMD) in Paris, one of the most recognized conservatories of music in the world.

Sincerest thanks to the following who have kindly given me instruments and supporting materials such as manuscripts, books and other items over the years, to serve as a permanent part of my Accordion Gems display:

  • Raymond Bodell and the Estate of Graham Romani - London, United Kingdom
  • Ernest Deffner Inc. (Director - Faithe Deffner) - Mineola, New York, USA
  • Titano Accordions/Accordion House (Director - Maurice Jones) - Auckland, New Zealand
  • Richard Neal Ray - Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  • Shirley Yelavich - Auckland, New Zealand
  • Zada Vogel - Kansas City, Kansas, USA
  • Ethel Pippin - Louisburg, Kansas, USA
  • Lars Arnevig - Asker, Norwau
  • The Cumpton Family, Liberty, Missouri
  • Dr. Karen Fremar - Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  • Music Education Center - Auckland, New Zealand
  • Estate of Charlie Durham - Auckland, New Zealand
  • Thomas J. Mora - New York, New York, USA
  • Rob Howard - Stockport, United Kingdom
  • Gary Daverne (Musical Director) - Auckland Symphony Orchestra - Auckland, New Zealand
  • Kimmo Mattila (President - Suomen Harmonikkaliitto - Finnish Accordion Association) - Ikaalinen, Finland
  • Jane Christison (Music With A Smile) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA
  • Judy Hunt and the Filosa Family - Northport, New York, USA
  • Julie and Juha Silfverberg - Overland Park, Kansas, USA
  • Norman Seaton, President of the National Accordion Association (NAA)
  • Frank Busso, Staten Island, New York, USA
  • Dr. Helmi Harrington, Curator - World of Accordions Museum - Superior, Wisconsin, USA
  • Nicole Phillips, New Zealand
  • Doug and Beryl Crispe, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Joan Cochran Sommers, Prarie Village, Kansas, USA
  • Lynette Parkinson (nee Fowlie), Auckland, New Zealand
  • Linda Litt (nee Emmett), Auckland, New Zealand
  • Joan Brown (nee Emmett), Ruawai, New Zealand

Contact for the Accordion Gems Exhibition: Kevin Friedrich
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